Olympic National Park, Day 2

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Hole in the Wall

Setting the alarm and glad then that we were on Pacific Time, we woke up at 5:20 a.m PDT to be ready at 6 am for a trip to the tide pools at Tongue Point along the north coast of the peninsula. Called Salt Water Recreation Area (I think) , it’s not part of Olympic National Park, but very close to it. It was too foggy to see Victoria Island, Canada, but knowing it was just across the strait made it interesting. The whole area looked like volcanic rock covered with kelp, moss, many many mussels, and some spots of plane lava where the walking was a little less slippery. The tide being out, there were many “pot holes” and low lying places where we were able to see all sorts of little ocean critters. Interesting, but it was also a little gross to think that we were walking on the bottom of the ocean when the tide is in.

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Blood Starfish in Ron’s Hand

The ones that stand out in my mind the most are the Blood Starfish (red), some little starfish, and the Anemones that were still in a little water, as they were a brighter green color. Saw two of these in the water and many Anemones that were brown and curled up on the lava rocks. Also saw lots of little hermit crabs scurrying along. The mussels were all over the place, and sometimes we had to even walk on them, but it didn’t crack them, so I guess it didn’t hurt them.

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Bullwhip Kelp

The Bullwhip Kelp plant was particularly interesting also because we thought that sections of it were industrial waste and then we realized it was a real plant. (Martha will identify more specifically all these little critters because she searches on her I-Phone, which I don’t carry at this time. Maybe when I finally get one, I’ll become more curious and look up all these things. Unfortunately, my camera just stopped working here, so that the pictures I took didn’t turn out and I’m afraid I’m done taking pictures on this trip.)

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Fogged In

On one side we could see a very small little island that was shrouded in fog and looked almost surreal.

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Moss-covered Tree

From here we drove two hours west and south to the Hoh Rainforest, where we took a short hike to see all sorts of mossy trees, ferns, huge dead trees, and lots of undergrowth among the tall spruce trees. Had a picnic lunch along the trail, and it felt good to walk. Good change of pace from driving. Too bad we didn’t have time for a longer walk in the area. Not as many flowers here as in the Hawaii and Puerto Rico rainforests, but still scenic.

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Hurricane Ridge

Only 30 minutes off on our schedule, we got back into the car and drove to Hurricane Ridge, which took a good three hours. There are no roads through the National Park, and so all driving is quite time consuming. Beautiful scenery, though. On the way we stopped in Port Angeles for an ice cream treat to wake us up a little and then continued the drive up the mountain. It kind of reminded me of Glacier National Park at the Chalet we hiked to, but there we had huge mountain peaks all around us. These were more on one side of us. Martha and I each bought a “mountain” t-shirt with a saying by John Muir, and then we started a little walk up a nearby ridge. I had wanted to take the 1.6 mile hike up Hurricane Hill, but we were all a bit tired, and time was not available for a longer hike. The walk gave us a good view of a glacial cirque and a different perspective of the scenery. Then we were back in the car for another almost two hour drive back to Bainbridge Island where we ate dinner at the Harbor Pub restaurant with all the sailboats parked in the marina there and stayed at the Best Western nearby. It was another interesting, “new-stuff” day, but I must admit that the driving was a little much, although that was the only way we could pack so much of the Park into one day. I miss getting a little more exercise. I have been used to swimming 20 minutes almost daily at home.

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